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Catastrophic pizza malfunction
May 17, 2001


It has been a good couple months since mealtimes were a source of story fodder. I don't foresee the experiment becoming a daily recounting of dietary oddities, regardless of my ability to come up with content.

Still, this seemed an important topic from a safety perspective, and so the story was written.

It was another attempt at frozen pizza. We were out of food on a grand scale, so options are limited. We don't have any more pets, and we're even out of those hot-water-reviving powder-soup-in-a-carton products, which I bought at grocery outlet over a year ago. Grocery outlet is no more of course, having been demolished last month in a effort to bring more big box retail to the costco/office max area under the freeway. But poor land use, lost jobs and higher grocery prices have nothing to do with dinner, so I'll kill that tangent right there.

This pizza came from safeway. Generally, safeway has pretty good store brand stuff. Their premium store brand ice cream is really good, and most other stuff carrying their name is fit for use. So when I unwrapped the pizza and could actually recognize the parts on it, including real enough pepperoni and colors that clearly belonged to olives and red peppers, I figured I was in for some good eating without any assembly.

But before I finish that story, let me tell you about something else having to do with pizza and safeway. Some weeks ago, was at that huge safeway that hangs in the boundary between the mission and south of market on 16th street and potrero ave.

Incidentally, potrero is spanish for 'pasture', although a few blocks up, near san francisco general hospital, potrero has the additional colloquial meanings of 'stolen car radio threat,' 'mass public urination' and 'crack head public health zombie bus stop'.

The safeway neo-mall at 16th and potrero isn't so scary though, with its blockbuster, gap and probably a starbucks or two. I was therefore sufficiently unprepared when approached by a woman selling gift certificate books for various san francisco restaurants. The idea of donating to help lost children and, at the same time, getting further reason to try some new establishments out was enough to get me to buy the thing, once I'd talked her down a buck or two.

Two months later, I've used two coupons. Ironically, one for tony's cable car and the other for nick's pizza. I got a burger at tony's while waiting for a kaiser permanente appointment. Then a couple weeks ago, I turned the book over (the opposite half features san mateo venues) to see what awaited outside the city. Common keyword: drive-thru.

I did find a pizza place though, so nick and I decided to go and try it out. I was originally venturing out of san francisco solely to replace a cd-r drive I bought from compusa that was defective. Somewhere along the way, I confused san mateo with san bruno, and ended up going a long way just for pizza. Bay area suburbia south of the city all looks pretty similar to me; daly city, colma, south san francisco "the industrial city!" san bruno, etc.

Well duh, it turns out that san mateo is way further south, especially when you drive down the old highways instead of the freeway. Of course, I knew all this, and have been through san mateo several times, but things didn't click until I was too far from home not to just enjoy it all as an outing in suburbia.

Compared to the annoying serramonte car-oriented parking wasteland of the nearby burbs, the old downtown of san mateo is nearly pleasant small town main street. Nick being there made the whole trip to nick's pizza more ironic. Turns out that almost next door to nick's pizza is another nick's restaurant. The nick's we went to is apparently the original nick's pizza. They had good pizza, hot wings and lots of different kinds of beer. And our waitress wasn't wearing shoes.

Okay, so that's the tie-in from safeway to pizza for the peripheral story. Here's the original story I started writing: the frozen pizza I threw in the oven decided to self-destruct inside the oven. Here are the official press shots of the damage.

I was going to take it back to the store to take advantage of the satisfaction guarantee, but there were three hungry guys in the house, so it turns out that there wasn't a whole lot of evidence left.

Pizza Pizza Pizza

And speaking of damage, I have two stories in the pipeline: one about my bank robbery and the other about an approaching island war, so check back later. And of course, I always like to get mail to know what you're thinking, too, so let me know if you have any leads on island happenings.

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